October 17, 2011

The Vatican newspaper said it was "historically senseless hypocrisy" for the BBC to drop the dating abbreviations B.C. and A.D. on the grounds that they might offend non-Christians.

In a front-page commentary Oct. 4, L'Osservatore Romano said the change reflected a wider effort to "cancel every trace of Christianity from Western culture."

The BBC has said it will replace B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini, or Year of the Lord) with B.C.E. (Before Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era.)

It said the new terms are a "religiously neutral" alternative.

A growing number of critics have noted that the new dating abbreviations still use the birth of Christ as a reference point, but fail to acknowledge the connection.

"To deny the historically revolutionary importance of the coming of Christ on earth, which is also accepted by those who do not recognize him as the Son of God, is an act of enormous foolishness," the newspaper said.